Ethics in negotiation can involve expectations of fairness, equity, and honesty but, sometimes, despite your best intentions, circumstances might lead you to behave unethically.
Whether we are aware of it or not, we make a series of “micro-decisions” during our time at the bargaining table. Such decisions often revolve around ethics in negotiation, including choosing whether to disclose, conceal, or misrepresent information that would weight outcomes in your own favor.
While that may seem like negotiators aren’t always forthright, most negotiators strive to tell the truth. However, studies suggest the pliability of ethics in negotiation. Many of us may unknowingly adjust our ethical standards based on the negotiation context.
What might those contexts be? One example would be when we find ourselves in uncertain situations. Uncertainty increases the likelihood that we will be unethical, Roy J. Lewicki of Ohio State University and other researchers have noted. Uncertainty about the material facts in a negotiation can inspire unethical behavior.
Ultimately, whether negotiators choose to engage in ethically questionable behavior can depend on a host of factors, such as power and opportunity. As a result, we need to be particularly vigilant to the possibility that we will behave deceptively, even if we have no intention of doing so.
Imagine that you and your business partner agree to sell your company. You end up getting an offer that pleases you both, so now you face the enviable task of splitting up the rewards. How do you ensure that there is fairness in negotiation?
… Read Fairness in Negotiation
You say you would never lie during a negotiation. Your ethical standards are solid—right? But imagine that after spending months looking for a new job, you’ve received an attractive offer to serve as the director of innovation for a growing start-up company.
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Lack of transparency regarding negotiations between hospitals and the insurers known as preferred provider organizations, or PPOs, is a key contributor to spiraling health-care costs in the United States, back in a 2013 article in the New York Times. This topic has many questioning ethics in negotiating within the healthcare industry.
The problem starts with the … Read More
When we think about our own ethics in negotiation, we tend to focus on the ethical and legal lines we may be at risk of crossing through our actions. We often fail to consider how we could end up enabling the unethical and even illegal behavior of our negotiation counterparts and partners.
More broadly, we have … Read More
Cross cultural negotiation examples provide insights into how negotiation techniques change depending on the context in which negotiators find themselves. As Professor Cheryl Rivers of Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia, points out in a recent negotiation research literature review, seasoned negotiators often hear stories about the unethical behaviors of people of other nationalities.
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Ethics in negotiation can involve expectations of fairness, equity, and honesty but, sometimes, despite your best intentions, one or more of these four forces might lead you to behave unethically during job offer negotiations:
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In a negotiation, few issues heighten tensions faster than when one party feels that the other party has done something ethically or morally incorrect.
To help professionals prepare for times like this, the Program on Negotiation’s Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC) offers a variety of negotiation exercises designed to teach participants how to handle disputes that … Read More
Negotiation researchers have refuted the widespread belief that honesty varies widely among individual negotiators. Rather, because people respond strongly to their environment, personal standards for negotiation ethics often vary depending on the context.
… Read Negotiation Ethics May Be a Slippery Slope
If you’re thinking about buying a house, one of your first moves may be to choose a real estate agent who can advise you through the process. If you want a big-name publisher to buy your book, you probably will try to sign on an experienced literary agent as your counselor and advocate. Less formally, … Read More
In negotiation, your best source of power is typically your best alternative to a negotiated agreement, or BATNA. Having a strong outside alternative enables you to walk away from a deal that doesn’t meet your needs or that would compromise your vision or ethics.
But when you are dealing with a negotiating partner who seems irreplaceable, … Read More
Negotiation ethics can be linked to context and environment – as well as to jealousy experienced by negotiating counterparts. The negotiation research of Maurice E. Schweitzer and Simone Moran is discussed.
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